Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

The people who lined the streets on Palm Sunday had different reasons for waving those palms. Some were political activists and they wanted him to free Israel from Roman rule. Others had loved ones who were sick or dying. Some were curious onlookers, while others were genuine followers. Jesus was the only one who knew... why he was going to Jerusalem - to die. He had a mission, while everyone else had an agenda.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Linky Love: Whitney Caroline Designs

I was recently lucky enough to win a $75 gift card from Whitney Caroline designs.      It is so much fun to be given money and permission to shop.     Hubs loved it too because I wasn't spending money.... out of the budget.

Oh my gravy she has such gorgeous stuff!      How to choose!  How to choose!

Now that I am looking through her site again I am thinking.   Why didn't I choose this Four boys Scout Bag.    The things I could have used that baby for.... carrying curriculum for homeschooling, towels and snacks to the pool, books to the library, a quick day trip bag.

I didn't buy it, but I seriously gave second and third thoughts to this Hamptons Coffee Tote.   I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!      I am telling you that if hubs drank coffee I would have snatched this baby up.   Just the thought of packing up coffee or hot chocolate in this cute baby and sneaking away for a morning breakfast picnic just the two just spells romance to me!

Now I wish I was one of you girls who could look cute with my hair all pulled back in a ponytail rockin' one of these adorable baseball caps, but I am not.   However, I would be willing to forego the fact that I look hideous just to own one of these monogrammed cuties!    

I love that she has prissy plates.    I have two prissy plates and I use them all the time.    They are so versatile for entertaining and a great investment.     She has a a BLACK prissy plate which I have never seen before, but is very cute with black polka dot or even orange ribbon.   She also has a slotted prissy bowl which I would love to have.    Oh, I am sorry.  You don't know what a prissy plate is?      Here....

Would this polka dot tote not make the cutest ever Easter bag?    You could fill it with candies or books or gardening supplies or whatever ideas you come up with?    

What did I choose?   Well, I just can't tell you because there I just don't want to spoil some surprises for some very special people that I love with all my heart!     

I hope you will visit Whitney!  Tell her I said hello!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Graduated from Sign Class

Little Guy and I "graduated" from sign class.    We already miss our Mondays with our sweet teachers,  Leighann and Nikki.      They were such sweet ladies and now they are studying so hard for their finals and state tests to get ready for their graduation.

We are going to frame Little Guy's certificate.   

So proud that we were able to be a part of this first sign language class.    We not only learned a lot, but we made a lot of great friends as well.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Break Is... PE

Did I just say PE?   During Spring Break?    I did.    The boys are in training for the Presidential Physical Fitness Test.     The test date is set for April 5th so our PE coach said that we would not take off Spring Break.    She said come if you could.    We did.

This is no whimpy test.     There is a one mile run.    You can't just run it.   You have to meet the time requirements:  Big Guy has to run it in 7:11 or less and Little Guy has to run it in 8:48 or less.

Next are pull-ups.   5 for Little Guy and 7 for Big Guy.

Next up is the shuttle run...  in 11.1 seconds for Little Guy and in 9.8 seconds for Big Guy.

How far can you stretch?   Both boys need to reach a minimum of 31 cm on the sit and reach board.    

And then the dreaded sit ups.     40 for Little Guy and 50 for Big Guy

These are great workouts and the time at the park is really great.    Plus we have gotten to know some of the kids from our home school co-op even better too which has been fun.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Break Is.... Peace Love Missions

Peace Love Missions was the name of our middle school Spring Break mission emphasis.     Big Guy gave up a big part of his Spring Break to go to Mission First and work for others.    Trust me when I say they worked.      They prepared ground for the pouring of a foundation.    They went to the homes of widows and cleaned.    They raked, shoveled, weeded, picked up trash, cut down trees, and anything else that was on the list of "to be done".     

I don't know if you know much about Mission First, but you may recognize this picture from 1999.   It was the Rosedown Apartment complex.    It was a den of drug dealers, prostitution and vagrants.    Shootings were a common occurance here.   The community wanted it to be torn down.   One neighbor wanted to invest in his community and saw the potential in this.   In this?   I am telling you that Mr. Joseph saw that place with God's eyes because I remember when Rosedown was on the news.     Police were afraid to go down there.    It was bad!

Our youth pastor asked Mr. Joseph how they got rid of the drug dealers.    His answer:  "A lot of prayer."     Don't believe prayer works?     Look at it now.

God's eyes are better than ours.    As far as I am concerned, Mr. Joseph is a modern day Moses.    He took the Westpark neighborhood out of the wilderness and followed God's path into a new land.      Today Mission First acts as a cornerstone for that neighborhood.   

It was an amazing privilege and honor to be a small part of their ministry.    One that we aren't finished with yet.   We intend to make it a habit to be a part of their ministry.

15 teens, 3 adults and 1 great big GOD... 

I adore these kids.      Not just because they are Big Guy's friends, but because they radiate the love of Christ.     I see them growing in their relationship.    I have literally seen them lead our entire church in worship.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Linky Love: One Year Bible Blog

Finding a way to read through the Bible is a challenge for a lot of people.     A few years ago I signed up to start receiving Mike's weekly emails with that week's Bible reading challenge.   With Mike's plan, I would be able to read through the entire Bible in one year.      There was a relatively small group in that Yahoo email group the first year I started reading through the Bible this way.       Since then many, many more have decided to join the One Year Bible reading program and Mike has started a blog.

It is great to read along with Mike's blog.     Not only does he include the Scriptures (including links) for that day's readings, but he provides questions to challenge you in what you are reading.

There are questions to use for small group Bible studies or even a family devotional time.

Every day is a fresh new commentary, set of questions, and images that will cause you to dig deeper and reflect on what that day's Scripture is all about.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring Break Is... Swimming

Just because we didn't go out of town for Spring Break doesn't mean we can't have fun.    We decided to make use of the homeschool swim time at the YMCA.     Two hours of swimming in a heated pool.   Woo hoo!

Standing at the starting line of the Olympic size lap pool.    He loves to swim laps.

Got this adorable picture when I threatened to make him swim 40 laps if he didn't let me take his pic?    He responded with "What?!?"

Little Guy popped up out of the water and I snapped just in time....

Big Guy was soaking in the sun streaming through the windows and I got this one.   I love it.

As we were getting ready to leave I told the boys to get dressed while I went to grab Big Guy's glasses.   I nearly stepped on them.      See why?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Break Is.... Lonely With No Girls

Poor toy basket.     Doesn't it look lonely?    It is so sad with no sweet girls to play with them.

We miss them too!   We are addicted to our Monday morning playtime with MM and LK.

But most of all we miss their hugs, kisses and snuggles....

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lord, Help I'm Getting Ready to Homeschool My Highschooler!

Book Description

Do the words homeschool and high school make you a bit uneasy?
Are you unsure if you have what it takes to teach higher level curriculum?
Are hints of weakness discouraging you?

Be inspired and encouraged by experienced homeschoolers as they direct you back to the all powerful Superintendent of Christian Homeschools --God!

You'll read about families taking homeschooling one year at a time, while others homeschooled for the long haul from the very beginning, with homeschooled children from preschool to graduation. Some share where their children are now, what fields they are working in, and even whether or not they will homeschool their own children as they are now beginning their own families.

E-Book available for download  $12.45 from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

EBook Review

God answers prayers in all types of ways, but I have never had Him answer one of my prayers through an Ebook.    My boys and I are almost at the end of our first year of homeschooling.      It has been one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences for us, but it has also been one of intense doubt and insecurity for me.     I have spent a lot of time in prayer over curriculum, our schedule, whether my boys are learning appropriately and the activities we have chosen.      When TOS sent me the ebook, "Lord, Help I'm Getting Ready To Home My Highschooler!", I grabbed a cup of coffee and clicked the download link anxious to read.  I wasn't prepared for what popped up on the screen.     Literally 122 pages of encouragement from moms who had homeschooled their kids through high school.   

I loved the fact that "Lord, Help I'm Getting Ready to Homeschool My Highschooler!" gave stories from so many different families from so many different backgrounds with children facing so many different struggles and situations.     Homeschooling is such a personal decision.     I have two boys and my decision was different for each of them when it came to homeschooling.  

Having the advantage of knowing which curriculum was used to help students facing specific struggles (such as dyslexia, auditory processing issues, migraines and others) was a wonderful encouragement.    

My personal opinion is that one of the greatest needs of any homeschooling mom is encouragement no matter the age of your school age child.     Reading this wonderful ebook would encourage a homeschool mom no matter what stage of the homeschool journey she is in.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Winner Of The Viking Cooking Class

Thanks to the generosity of

I am pleased to announce that the winner of the 
hands-on cooking class
valued at $99 is...

Wanda M

Congrats!   I will be contacting you so we can mail your gift certificate to you!

Veggie Tale Winner

Mom?   What are we doing?

Can't you tell?   We are doing a very official drawing for the Veggie Tales DVD giveaway.

Mom, don't other blogs use some fancy Random Integer Generator or something like that?

Well, yes, they do, but that costs money and Dad says no unnecessary expenses so I am uses you as my impartial judge.    So.... pick a card, any card.


OK.  Sorry.  Just pick someone to win the DVDs OK?

Man.  I should have taken a picture with something other than my phone.   What does that say, Big Guy?

The winner is.... @EMBR! 

Congratulations, @EMBR!
Email me with your address and I will send out your vouchers for the FREE DVDS in the morning.

(I will be announcing the VIKING winners later tonight!)

Click "LIKE" for Brainy Blocks

Make It and Love It's cousin, Brad has developed an amazing new toy.     It is my favorite kind of toy because it it multi-functional.    You can build, stack, group, stack, line up, and perform countless math skills. 

Look at this adorable video Brad put together showing his new toy...

Brad is a finalist for a contest and whoever wins the most votes on facebook, wins a trip to meet the retailer about selling their product.

We can help him! Voting on Facebook is EASY. Just click "like"!

We click "Like" and get an amazing new toy.

Because Brad is Make it and Love It's cousin she is holding a giveaway where you can win lots of amazing stuff for supporting her cousin. Visit her and find out how you can win a set of Brain Blocks plus some of Brad's artwork!

Linky Love: Southern Sentiments

A few years ago I was browsing through some photos that a friend posted on the Mississippi Moms website.   She had taken a vacation and had, in her words, just taken a few shots.   They were amazing.     They were beautiful.    Most of all, they captured the beauty of our home state so well.  

I wrote and said, "You really need to start your own Etsy shop!    People would LOVE these."    She modestly said, "Yea right."   

Thankfully, she must have received even more words of encouragement and those little seeds continued to grow because she finally started her own Etsy shop.    She has called it Southern Sentiments.    Isn't that just a southern graceful name?

Just perfect for her wonderful pics.

If you are lucky enough to live in Mississippi, then you will admire how her photography talents just capture the essence and beauty of our state.     If you weren't blessed enough by God to be born here, then you will be able to glimpse into why all of us love calling Mississippi home.

Congratulations, Christy!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What Are You Waiting For?

Enter to win a FREE
Viking Cooking School
Cooking Class
Right NOW!

This class is valued is valued at $99 and you can enter by simply becoming a fan on Facebook or suggesting that some of your fans become fans on Facebook.    How easy is that?

Just don't forget to leave comments letting me know what you have done so you will officially be entered!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Goodbye, Studly

Our sweet blogger friend, Shelby, lost her husband, Studly on Monday.      He had been having increasingly troubling health problems over the past weeks and Shelby had asked all of us to be praying.      Despite his ICU stay and her constant updates, it still knocked the breath out of me to see her post stating that her sweet Studly has died.

Studly was born and raised in Ohio as the grandson of Italian immigrants.     He had an intense interest and fascination with the JFK case and was known to be one of the foremost experts on the subject.    He was a husband, father and grandfather.     

My prayers are with you, Shelby, your children, your grandchildren and Study's parents.

Viking Cooking School Giveway Continues

Have you entered my Viking Cooking School Giveaway?    What are you waiting for?     You have the chance to win a hands-on cooking class valued at $99!      Go here to post your entries.

Did you see Julie and Julia?    I did and I LOVED that movie.  Join this class and you could be making this:

If you saw the movie you know this is Boeuf Bourguignon.      Mmmmm.     Think of how impressive you will be when you master the techniques of French cuisine.      I wonder if they will teach us to talk like Julia too?

Some of us keep saying we need a Girl's Night Out.    This class is screaming our name!

The description literally says to escape to the islands to relax and unwind!     Ahhhh.... and with that dessert?   Sounds perfect to me.    You know what else sounds perfect?   The fact that a part of every class tuition from this class goes to the National Breast Cancer Foundation here in Jackson.

As much as I love to each fish, I am horrible at cooking it.     Worse than horrible which is a shame considering how much we all love to eat it.
This class teaches you how to determine the freshness of fish; select fresh fish; store fish; preparing the grill; creating crusty grill marks; turning fish without tearing; and determine doneness.    This is definitely going to the top of my "to take" list!

You can keep browsing all the great cooking classes at Viking Cooking School here.   Don't forget to go here to enter our GREAT Viking Cooking School Giveaway!

Monday, March 8, 2010

You Are NOT Going to Believe This - VIKING GIVEAWAY!

Guess who contacted me?     You will never guess so I won't make you!

Can you believe it?   THE Viking Cooking School.    You know.   The one where Little Guy and I did this...


and this....


and learned to make a meal like this....

Oh yes.    That Viking Cooking School.     

They have given me a FREE GIVEAWAY for YOU!   

Let me say that again...

Viking Cooking School has generously given me a FREE GIVEAWAY
and it is mine... I mean.... will be one of YOURS!
And seriously, I could not be more excited to be able to
share something so amazing with you... my friends!

 Viking Cooking School has given me a gift certificate 
for a hands-on cooking class valued at $99.

What do you have to do to enter?
Leave a comment below for EACH of the following things that you do:
1.    Become a fan of Viking Cooking School on Facebook
2.   Tweet about the Giveaway (leave your Twitter account name in the comment section)
3.   Suggest your friends become fans of Viking Cooking School   (link to suggest on the Viking Cooking School fan page)
4.   Make a post about this giveaway on your blog  (leave a direct link to your post)
5.    Go to the Viking Cooking School website and tell me which cooking class you would like to take!

Five ways, Five comments, Five entries to this GREAT contest!      

This contest will end at 6:00 p.m. on March 12.    

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Homeschooling for the Rest of Us

Wonder how others do it all?
Not sure you're cut out for homeschooling?

It's time to break a myth: Homeschooling families aren't perfect. In fact, real-life families like yours can be--and are--successful homeschoolers! That's the life message of Sonya Haskins, who is dedicated to helping everyday families meet the challenges of home education and enjoy its countless benefits.

In this practical, encouraging guide, Haskins shares tried and true ideas for how to:

*Discover a realistic vision of homeschooling for your family
*Help your child get excited about learning
*Find a routine that fits your goals and lifestyle
*Nurture a biblical worldview in your child's heart and mind
*And much more

Whether you are already homeschooling or just considering it, this book offers the support, answers, and flexible strategies to help you succeed.

Book Review
We are almost through with our first year of homeschooling.     "They" say that the first year is the hardest.    I am praying that is the truth because I feel like I must have been doing about everything wrong.     We have changed our schedule about three times trying to find one that fits our family.    We changed our math program halfway through the year because the boys just weren't learning what they needed.     We got involved with our co-op only to realize that you could be involved every day of the week if you weren't careful. 

Finding Sonya Haskins' book was such a welcome drink of water for this homeschooling newbie.     I really appreciated the fact that she does not hold up her family as the standard to follow as the model.    She encourages you to find what works for your family.     She gives you encouragement and suggestions in the area of schedules, budget, academics, dealing with nosy friends and family, issues specific to homeschooling, socialization, and addressing the needs of each child.   

While I can see this book as being a valuable resource for someone whether they are thinking about homeschooling, a newbie or a seasoned homeschooler.     I am especially glad to receive this as a newbie about to embark on our second year.      It will definitely help me smooth some of the rough edges and make what has been an enjoyable experience something even more exciting for our entire family.

In addition to Sonya's book, I intend to add her website ( to my RSS reader!

This book provided for review by Bethany House Publishers.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Shocked and Honored - Top 100

Yesterday I received an email from Internet Devotions Cafe that truly shocked me.     It was congratulating me for being one of the Top 100 Christian Women's Blogs for 2009.    Me?   Are you kidding?

If you had said Stretch Marks, B His Girl, A Pilgrim's Project, or (in)courage, I would have said "Of course!", but to be listed among these amazing blogs is simply humbling.

According to the Internet Devotions Cafe, it was readers who made the nominations.     Whoever you were...thank you.    I thank you for reading my blog.     I thank you for thinking I am worthy to be included in such a list as "Top 100 Christian Women's Blogs".... for 2009 or any year.     To honor my Jesus is my goal on my blog and in every area of my life.

I will proudly add this badge to my sidebar.    Thank you, Internet Cafe,  Inspired Hearts Media., and Amy Bayliss.


What Is A Typical Day Like?

Kelly's Korner made a challenge for bloggers to post a typical "day in the life".     I kind of laughed at the word "typical".      Does any mom have a typical day?

6:15   Alarm goes off for hubs -- the first time
7:00   Hubs wakes me up to let me know he is going to work
7:15   Get out the bed and start the coffee maker and kettle for hot water.     Do a quick check of my email.
7:30   Take hot chocolate to the boys.   Little Guy is in the living room and Big Guy is still asleep.
7:45   Convince boys to get their breakfast and morning routine done (dressed, beds, teeth, unload dishwasher, laundry, etc...)
8:30   Start homeschool with logic and Bible
9:15 - 10:15   Individual time with Little Guy
10:15 - 11:15  Individual time with Big Guy
11:15   Time for me to do housework, help boys with other school work or catch up on writing book reviews
12:15    Lunch
1:00   P.E.
2:00  A couple of afternoons of running out for P.E. class, sign language class, running to the grocery store, trips to the library, art class and volunteer service projects.
2:45   If we are home, friends from the neighborhood start coming over.    I can check my computer and post my blog at this point.
3:00     Try to get something accomplished in the housework department
4:30     Announce that Dad will be coming home soon so we can do the "Ten Minute Tidy".    This means cleaning up living room, kitchen and making sure all unnecessary lights are turned off (one of Dad's pet peeves).
***A couple of times of week we leave at this time for baseball practice, church or swim.
5:00     Start supper
6:30     Supper and family time
8:30     Family devotional and prayer time
9:00     Lights out for Little Guy/I take time to review our schedule for the next day as well as review our lesson plans.

10:00   Lights out for Big Guy

10:00   I go to bed so I can read.
10:30   Lights out for me!

Now that I look at that list I think, why aren't I getting  more done, but some days can get crazy which is why I probably look something like this when hubs gets home.    Attractive isn't it?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Isaac Newton

Book Description
Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church. Some are familiar faces. Others are unexpected guests. But all, through their relationships, struggles, prayers, and desires, uniquely illuminate our shared experience.

He built the first reflecting telescope, authored the book that became the basis for classical mechanics, and wrote the three laws of motion—and that’s just a fraction of Sir Isaac Newton’s achievements. Despite the fact that he’s considered by many to be the most influential scientist in history, he actually wrote more about his Christian faith than he did about natural science. This Christian Encounters biography illuminates Newton’s beliefs and how they shaped his view of the world he so desired to understand.

Book Review
If you say "Law of Motion", law of gravity or calculus, you automatically think of Isaac Newton.    However, there are things about Newton that we were never taught, but just as important.     

My son's science curriculum this year has focused on great mathematicians and scientists.     We have done a great deal of studying about Isaac Newton so when BookSneeze offered this book as part of the Christian Encounters series I was excited to receive it.  

Learning about the science of Newton is one thing, but learning about the faith and Biblical foundations on which his science and his life is built is another.     Newton lived during 17th century and he questioned some of the Church of England's teachings.     He wasn't sure that he agreed with their Trinitarian view.     Did he believe in God?     Did he believe in Jesus and his divinity?    Yes.    But for some reason he couldn't see them as the three in one Godhead.

Mitch Stokes wrote a fascinating book about Newton.   Not just his science, but his religious beliefs which helped develop his science.     I can't wait to add this to our library as well as other from the Christian Encounters series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I’d like to thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for providing me this Book free as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Follow the Sun

Despite the winter cold, our cat has developed a very specific routine for enjoying as much sunshine as possible.       There are four large windows in our family room that allows in a great deal of light.   Early in the morning the sunshine comes in and shines closest to the piano.      That is where she starts her morning nap.    When the sun moves and she loses her warmth she will get up stretch and move over to find the warmth where the sun has settled on the rug.         Once again the sun will move and she will lazily stretch and find her spot stretched out along the edge of the couch.   

The last couple of days as I have watched Kit Kat in her sunshine routine, it has reminded me of the D.C. Talk song that the boys love so much.

"I want to be in the light.
As you are in the light.
I wanna shine like the stars in the heavens.
Oh, lord be my light and be my salvation
Cause all I want is to be in the light
All I want is to be in the light."

You know, I guess if God can use Balaam's donkey (Numbers 22) then He can use my cat to speak to me to this morning.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Still No "Ace"

Little Guy and I finished our cake decorating class.    We had a blast despite the pounds of icing that I had to make in that  month long period.       Decorating the cakes was nothing compared to trying to keep up with making all the types of icing we had to have for each class.     For that reason alone I am kind of glad that we are finished.

We had to make a cake for our "final".     Little Guy and I were allowed to make our cake together.     We had to make a cake that was two layers, iced in the middle.   Flat on the top (some people really struggled with this).      It had to have at least four icing colors and use at least four techniques.      

Our cake looks simple, but it took us almost two hours to complete.    Both Little Guy and I loved our bumble bee and hated our butterfly.    Live and learn.    

For now we are celebrating the end of our class.... with CAKE!